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Nd:Glass Laser Design for Laser ICF Fission Energy (LIFE)

John Caird et al.

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 56 / Number 2 / August 2009 / Pages 607-617

Laser Fusion-Fission Hybrid / Eighteenth Topical Meeting on the Technology of Fusion Energy (Part 2)

We have developed preliminary conceptual laser system designs for the Laser ICF (Inertial Confinement Fusion) Fission Energy (LIFE) application. Our approach leverages experience in high-energy Nd: glass laser technology developed for the National Ignition Facility (NIF), along with high-energy-class diode-pumped solid-state laser (HEC-DPSSL) technology system.

We present laser system designs suitable for both indirect-drive, hot spot ignition and indirect-drive, fast ignition targets. Main amplifiers for both systems use laser-diode-angle, as in NIF, but the slabs are much thinner to allow for cooling by high-velocity helium gas as in the Mercury laser system. We also describe a plan to mass-produce pump-diode lasers to bring diode costs down to the order of $0.01 per Watt of peak output power, as needed to make the LIFE application economically attractive.

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